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Deforestation and its effects

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Introduction

Summer 2002 Helen Douglas 12.4 Deforestation and its effects Deforestation is a huge issue and it is said to cause world wide problems, from global warming to the extinction of rare species that live in the forests. In this essay, I will be outlining the advantages and disadvantages of deforestation and its effects on the environment. There are many pros and cons concerning deforestation and usually the reasons against deforestation are the most clearly outlined in the public eye. There is a very good reason for continuing with deforestation. Some plant species contain chemicals that are unique and can only be found in the rainforests. Such substances can be used for medicines from reproductive hormones to life saving anti-leukaemia drugs. The issue of using plant species for medicinal purposes is a controversial one. One day the plant species will become extinct if they aren't replaced and due to their rarity, the likelihood of them being replaced is low. However, should we prioritise human survival over plant survival? ...read more.

Middle

As the trees are removed, some dead matter is left, which naturally decomposes through nitrification. This results in the production of ammonia. The process continues through decay and fixation. However, rainfall will wash the soil into the rivers and streams and the bacteria needed for the cycle is lost. This means that nitrogen levels in the atmosphere could decrease. The loss of carbon in the carbon cycle is much simpler. Less trees means that less carbon dioxide is taken in and less oxygen given off. This raises CO2 levels in the atmosphere and decreases O2, which in turn contributes to global warming. This process is said to cause the ice caps to melt, resulting in extra moisture in the air, leading to frequent floods that cover large areas, such as the flood that struck Europe in the summer of this year. As far as the diversity of certain species is concerned, the amount is slowly decreasing. This is due to their habitats slowly being destroyed. If just one creature becomes extinct, it can cause problems on a large scale due to food chains being affected. ...read more.

Conclusion

Forest fires also cause a loss of species. Those that escape the fires have no habitats to return to. In order to decrease, and hopefully prevent deforestation, many measures can be taken. (However not all of them would be successful!!) Attempting to keep some areas of rainforests and deciduous forests as conservation areas would mean that areas were protected. There have been a few rules in the past so that when trees are removed they are replaced and it has worked in some places but the rate of deforestation in some areas is so rapid that there will be no fully grown trees around until the ones planted have had time to grow, which could take years. Stronger enforcement on licensing laws could work but as I mentioned earlier, the governments must stick to their policies and not take on a selfish attitude in order to raise their country's economy. If something isn't done soon, the diversity of species, both animal and plant species will be dramatically reduced, global warming will continue and the world will be a much grimmer place. ...read more.

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A good summary of some of the major issues associated with deforestation. Some specific examples would have been useful.

Marked by teacher Adam Roberts 16/07/2013

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